Friday, March 2, 2018

Best Wishes

TigerBlog saw the unhappy news yesterday that Jim Kelly's cancer had returned.

Kelly is the former quarterback of the Buffalo Bills. He was honored at the NCAA convention in January in Indianapolis, and TigerBlog presented former men's lacrosse player David Morrow with the Silver Anniversary Award at the same event.

Kelly had an incredible attitude about his first two bouts with cancer, and about his young son's fatal illness and the campaign he and his wife undertook to raise money to fight that disease and other rare diseases.

TigerBlog was very impressed with Kelly. He was friendly and approachable. Humble. Positive.

And now he's back into the same fight he's already won twice. When he first saw the news yesterday, TigerBlog was immediately saddened by it, having met Kelly very recently. Then he figured that if anyone can stare cancer down a third time, it's Jim Kelly.

TB had always liked Kelly as a player. He rooted for him in three Super Bowls. Now that he's talked to him, he can tell you that he's someone you definitely want to pull for here. Hopefully the next news about him will be good news.

TigerBlog wanted to start with his good wishes for Jim Kelly before heading into the weekend in Princeton Athletics. And this weekend is about as busy as it ever gets.

Just to give a bit of a rundown, you have:

* the last weekend of the Ivy basketball regular season
* a home series in the ECAC playoffs
* the individual national championships in squash
* NCAA bids to be determined in wrestling
* the 88th meeting between Princeton and Johns Hopkins in men's lacrosse
* the Ivy League opener in women's lacrosse
* opening weekend for baseball and softball
* lots of home tennis
* home volleyball, including a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the 1998 NCAA Final Four team
* women's water polo in California

The complete schedule is HERE.

If TigerBlog is seeing it right, then there are 36 events this weekend, between the 14 teams he listed. Many, actually most, of those events are major ones.

The EIWA wrestling championships will be held at Hofstra. Princeton finished second last year at the EIWA meet, and the Tigers sent a program-record seven wrestlers to the NCAA tournament from there.

Princeton has won three individual EIWA titles in the last 31 years. The third one came a year ago, when Matthew Kolodzik won as a freshman.

If you want a lot of information about Princeton for the EIWA meet, click HERE. TigerBlog's colleague Craig Sachson put that together; he knows way more about all of this than TB does.

The ECAC hockey playoffs begin at Hobey Baker Rink tonight, as Princeton hosts Brown in Game 1 of the best-of-three. Face-off tonight, tomorrow and if necessary Sunday will be at 7.

If it goes the distance, it has to be pretty grueling to play three hockey games in three days, especially with overtimes mixed in. On the other hand, it didn't seem to bother anyone last year, when Princeton beat Colgate in three games, two of which went overtime.

Princeton is 2-11 all-time in ECAC opening round series, with a win over Brown in 1997 and then last year's. As TB said earlier in the week, Princeton is 1-1 this year against Brown, with a 7-2 win and a 3-0 loss.

In the squash national championships, the biggest Princeton storyline will be how freshman Youssef Ibrahim does.

In the lacrosse world, the women are at Brown for the Ivy League opener. Princeton actually does not return home until March 24, when the Tigers will take on Dartmouth.

By then, five of the first six games will have been away from home. After that, six of the last nine will be at home, including four straight, against Maryland, Yale, Cornell and Penn.

The men will be in Baltimore to take on Johns Hopkins. Princeton and Hopkins have met every year since 1936, except for 1944.

The teams have split the last 18 meetings, including last year's 18-7 win in Princeton, which happened to be the largest margin of victory Princeton has ever had against the Blue Jays.

The 88th meeting will be tomorrow in Baltimore, with face-off at 6. The game is on ESPN3, with the replay on ESPNU at 10 am Sunday.

If you clicked on the schedule link above, you saw the rest of what it is going on this weekend.

And as a reminder where the basketball races stand, Princeton plays Brown tonight and Yale tomorrow, with the women home and the men away.

The men need to win twice, have Columbia lose twice and have Cornell lose to Harvard to get into the Ivy League tournament.

The women need a win in either of the two games to clinch the Ivy title and the No. 1 seed in the tournament, which will be held next Saturday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

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